Saturday, March 29, 2014

Holidays and Observances for March 29 2014

National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

Lemon has never been this luscious - March 29 is National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day!

Following on the heels of Black Forest cake day, cleanse your chocolate, whipped cream and cherry-covered palate with the sweet taste of lemon chiffon cake.

This cake was invented by Harry Baker, a insurance salesman turned caterer, in 1927. He kept the recipe to himself for 20 years before selling it to General Mills. Betty Crocker soon released 14 recipes and variations in a pamphlet in 1948.

Chiffon cake gets its name from the lighter-than-air texture the cake is famous for. The secret to its airy success is its lack of butter. This might upset some of you, but never fear, it is still one seriously great cake.

Stiffened egg whites are folded into the cake batter because it is difficult to achieve an incredibly light cake with a fat like butter involved. And, no butter means that this cake isn't going to dry out anytime soon.

The unique structure is a combo of batter and foam cakes, using vegetable oil, eggs, sugar, flour and baking powder to achieve a fluffy, but incredibly moist texture. Because of this, it's a good idea to refrigerate chiffon cakes - and it gives you an excuse to use pasty cream, fresh fruit or ice cream fillings.

When compared to cakes with butter in their batter, chiffon cakes are lower in saturated fat. The lack of fat also means a lack of rich butter flavor, so don't forget to amp up the flavor of your fillings and icing.

That's not a problem for this lemon-orange chiffon cake, which pumps up the flavor with orange juice, orange zest and a citrusy sweet buttercream frosting.

National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day

March 29th celebrates the American dream – it’s National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day, an annual holiday that celebrates the millions of hard working folks that own small businesses. Today serves as an important reminder to support all those small business owners and keep Main Street in business.

In 2011, there were more than 27 million small businesses in the United States, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Not only do mom and pop businesses help our economy work, they keep Americans working! In fact, more than 60 percent of all new jobs are created by small businesses! “Small businesses play a vital role in the economic well-being of our nation.”

Whether it’s been in the family for generations or is a brand new start-up, owning your own business is a dream and ultimate goal for many Americans. And consumers' support is paramount to their success. Whether you are looking for a particular product, a great place to eat, a fun night on the town or a special service, stop by your local family-owned store today and help keep American strong!

Smoke and Mirrors Day

Smoke and Mirrors Day, sometimes referred to as Festival of Smoke and Mirrors Day, is celebrated on March 29th of each year.

Smoke and mirrors is a metaphor for a deceptive, fraudulent or insubstantial explanation or description. The source of the name is based on magicians’ illusions, where magicians make objects appear or disappear by extending or retracting mirrors amid a confusing burst of smoke. The expression may have a connotation of virtuosity or cleverness in carrying out such a deception.
In the field of computer programming, it is used to describe a program or functionality that does not yet exist, but appears as though it does. This is often done to demonstrate what a resulting project will function/look like after the code is complete — at a trade show, for example.

More generally, “smoke and mirrors” may refer to any sort of presentation by which the audience is intended to be deceived, such as an attempt to fool a prospective client into thinking that one has capabilities necessary to deliver a product in question.

Texas Love the Children Day

Texas Loves Children, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve case outcomes for abused and neglected children by enhancing the quality of legal services they receive. The most important decisions about an abused or neglected child's future are made in court. TLC exists to help ensure that those decisions are the best possible for the child.

Texas Loves Children, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, was founded by Barbara Elias-Perciful in 1995 to provide specialized training about child abuse issues to Dallas judges and attorneys. Barbara had been practicing business litigation at the Dallas firm Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, L.L.P., when she took a probono court appointment to represent an abused child. The heartbreaking situation—a 12-year-old girl who had been methodically sexually abused by her father for years—was made even more desperate when Barbara saw the lack of tools, research, and expertise readily available to assist judges and attorneys handling these cases. Shortly thereafter, Barbara left the law firm and opened a private practice devoted exclusively to representing abused children. She then established Texas Loves Children, Inc. (TLC) to provide highly specialized training to the legal community on complex child abuse issues, subjects not typically covered in law school. For overt 15 years, TLC has sponsored high-quality training seminars on critical legal, medical, and mental health issues for judges, attorneys, CPS workers, CASA volunteers, and law enforcement personnel.

In May 2004, Texas Loves Children launched the Texas Lawyers for Children Online Legal Resource and Communication Center program — an interactive online legal resource center designed to bring training and information to the fingertips of judges and attorneys across Texas. TLC later expanded the Online Center to include a Communication Center with communication services enabling judges and attorneys to access colleagues, experts, and mentors. In November 2007, the Texas Supreme Court’s Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families selected TLC’s Online Center program as one of its Texas Court Improvement Program projects for improving the court system’s handling of child abuse cases. During 2008, TLC replicated its Online Center model for California’s Administrative Office of the Courts. California’s Online Center now serves over 3,500 judges, attorneys, and child welfare workers. This collaboration marked a momentous leap in realizing TLC’s goal of creating a national network of Online Centers that work together to help children by sharing information and best practices. TLC has also created Online Centers for Florida and Alabama. Today in Texas, over 2,000 Texas judges and attorneys trust TLC’s services providing critical updates on new developments in the field, a complete, consistently updated law library, and secure communication services. These legal professionals estimate that they handle the cases of over 105,000 Texas children annually.

In August 2009, TLC’s Founder and President, Barbara Elias-Perciful, was honored by the American Bar Association as the Distinguished Lawyer recipient of the 2009 Child Advocacy Award for her service on behalf of abused and neglected children, largely due to her work with TLC. This prestigious award is based on an individual's personal achievements and impact in helping abused and neglected children. Ms. Elias-Perciful was honored in a ceremony during the ABA’s annual meeting in Chicago. For details, please click here to see the ABA's announcement of the award.

In November 2010, TLC was honored with the 2010 Award for Excellence in Social Innovation by the Dallas Center for Nonprofit Management for the impact of the Texas Lawyers for Children Online Legal Resource and Communication Center in helping abused and neglected children. The award recognizes TLC's Online Center project as “a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient and sustainable…and demonstrates significant positive change around a specific social issue.”The 1-minute video on the home page describes TLC’s mission and was shown at the award ceremony in November 2010. Click here for further details about the award.

Texas Loves Children is confident that with the continued involvement and support of the community, its vision will be achieved—that abused children nationwide are protected from further harm.
Earth Hour

Niagara Falls Runs Dry Day

1848: Niagara Falls stops. No water flows over the great cataract for 30 or 40 hours. People freak out.

The falls were already a tourist attraction by 1848, and villages had grown up on both the U.S. and Canadian sides of the river to accommodate the sightseeing throngs. Residents also built waterwheels to harness the Niagara River’s power to run mills and drive machinery in factories.

An American farmer out for a stroll shortly before midnight on March 29 was the first to notice something. Actually, he noticed the absence of something: the thundering roar of the falls. When he went to the river’s edge, he saw hardly any water.

Came the dawn of March 30, people awoke to an unaccustomed silence. The mighty Niagara was a mere trickle. Mills and factories had to shut down, because the waterwheels had stopped.

The bed of the river was exposed. Fish died. Turtles floundered about. Brave — or foolish — people walked on the river bottom, picking up exposed guns, bayonets and tomahawks as souvenirs.

Was it the end of the world? Divine retribution for what some folks thought was a U.S. war of aggression against Mexico? Theological explanations abounded, because western New York state had been a Burned-Over District for half a century, with recurring waves of religious revivals and the rise of several new denominations and religions.

Thousands of people filled the churches to attend special services. They prayed for the falls to start flowing and the world to continue, or for salvation and forgiveness of their sins as the Last Judgment approached.

No one knew why the falls had stopped. The telegraph was still a new invention. Railroads served towns on both sides of the river, but the tracks were unreliable, and Buffalo — the nearest big city — was three hours away even when the trains ran on schedule.

But it was from Buffalo that word eventually arrived that explained the bare falls and dry riverbed. Strong southwest gale winds had pushed huge chunks of lake ice to the extreme northeastern tip of Lake Erie, blocking the lake’s outlet into the head of the Niagara River. The ice jam had become an ice dam.

And just as news traveled inward, news also traveled outward. Thousands came from nearby cities and towns to look at the spectacle of Niagara Falls without water. People crossed the riverbed on foot, on horseback and in horse-drawn buggies. Mounted U.S. Army cavalry soldiers paraded up and down the empty Niagara River.

Dangerous as that all may sound, for there was no telling when the rushing waters might return, one entrepreneur used the hiatus to do some safety work. The Maid of the Mist sightseeing boat had been taking tourists on river rides below the falls since 1846, and there were some dangerous rocks it always had to avoid, Now that the river was not running and the rocks were in plain sight, the boat’s owner sent workers out to blast the rocks away with explosives.

March 30 was not the only dry day. No water flowed over the falls throughout the daylight hours of March 31.

But that night, a distant rumble came from upriver. The low-pitched noise drew nearer and louder. Suddenly, a wall of water came roaring down the upper Niagara River and over the falls with a giant thunder.

The ice jam had cleared, and river was running again. Nothing like it would ever happen again.


The Army Corp of Engineers turned off the American Falls (the U.S. side of the river) in 1969. They built cofferdams above the falls to divert all the water to the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. (Well, it was all the water not already diverted for hydroelectric generation.)

The corps was looking for a way to remove the rocks that have piled up at the base of the American Falls, threatening some day to turn the waterfall into rapids. Nothing doing: The engineers decided it just wouldn't be practical, and that removing the accumulated talus could undermine the cliff behind it and even speed the crumbling process.

They turned the river back on.

Brother and Sister Day

Brother and Sister Day is celebrated on the last Saturday in March each year.  The idea for this day came from a woman who realized-too-late-when her brother died, that she had never let him adequately know how much he meant to her.

Two years later, she proposed establishing a simple, non-commercial day on which brothers and sisters could make it a point to connect, or reconnect, acknowledging all they share.  “Because life is too short,” the woman said.  “I don’t want other people to miss what I missed.”

The idea of this day is to keep is simple and sincere.  A few ideas on how to celebrate are:

  • Spend a minute (or more) thinking about your brothers or sisters
  • Get together with them
  • Call or send an e-card, email, or letter
  • Do something special or helpful for them